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Authors

Roberta Romano

Abstract

Although the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) received nearly unanimous congressional support, only a few years thereafter its wisdom was increasingly questioned and its supporters had to stave off attempts to recraft the legislation. The financial crisis of 2008 has sidelined efforts to alter the legislation's most costly provision, as Congress's attention has turned to overhauling the regulatory regime for financial institutions. There is, nonetheless, much to be learned about financial regulation and SOX's future, from an in-depth examination of the interplay of the government and private commissions created with an eye to revising the legislation, media coverage of those entities, and congressional responses. That interaction provides a map of political fault lines and assists in forecasting the prospects for recrafting SOX's most costly provision. It also serves as a cautionary tale regarding significant regulation enacted in the midst of a financial-market crisis. The ongoing financial crisis has sidelined SOX, but its burdensome costs suggest that it might well, in due course, reemerge on the legislative agenda.

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